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Stay Away From The Glass: Tales of Petty Crime and Self-Punishment

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It wasn't very often that there was a black tie affair being held at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. It was even less often that House actually showed up to one. When he did, it was usually the result of being bribed, or the temptation of an open bar.

This particular night was no exception.

But even though the drinks flowed freely, and his guilty conscious sat on his left, as he looked around the room at all the candlelit tables and his colleagues in suits and dresses, he could feel his lunch creeping up into his throat.

"I've changed my mind. I'm going home." House pushed his chair back from the table and reached for his cane. Wilson grabbed it first and placed it just out of reach.

"You think I won't limp out of here?" House stood up and took a step over towards Wilson, reaching for his cane once again.

"House! You said you'd come with me. Sit back down. This is a big night for me."

"You're preaching to the wrong choir. I don't really care." House set a foot down, hard, on Wilson's polished Oxford. Wilson yelped and jumped up, but didn't hand over the cane. "It's going to take more than that." Wilson took a few deep breaths, trying to breath through the pain. "Besides...you owe me."

House rolled his eyes. "Owe you for what?"

"There's not enough hours in the day, House. Now sit down."

House just stood there, hand outstretched for his cane.

"You know there's also an open bar." Wilson raised an eyebrow at House, sighed and pointed towards the empty chair. "And I'll pay for your next hooker."

With that, House promptly sat down. "You should have thrown that in from the very beginning." House looked around for a waiter. "Sorry about your foot."

"I'm sure."

Wilson watched as House managed to obnoxiously flag down a waiter, and then threaten his life for the entire carafe of Scotch he was pouring. "I just saved you fifty trips. You should be thanking me!"

Wilson reached for the carafe to pour himself a glass. House smacked his hand with a fork. "Get your own!"

"House, you really don't think you're going to drink all of that -"

"You're right. I know I am."

"House-"

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IF I COULD PLEASE HAVE YOUR ATTENTION."

Wilson jumped and covered his ears with his hands, and House screamed up at the stage. "You don't have to yell with a microphone in your hands! This is the prom, not the WWF!"

Cuddy shot House a look, and then tried again. "Thank you, Dr. House." She cleared her throat and smiled out at her audience. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to thank you all for being here tonight on this very special occasion. As you all know, this hospital has been in dire need of an updated Children's Oncology wing for some time now, and we have happened to come into some good fortune. I would like each of you to put your hands together for Mr. Bruce Wayne, from Wayne Industries, who has read about our need and has donated to us a generous three million dollars. Mr. Wayne?"

Cuddy stepped to the side of the microphone, clapping her hands together.

House set his glass of Scotch down. "You didn't tell me he was the one giving you all that money."

Wilson continued to clap, but turned his attention towards House. "I honestly didn't know. And I have no idea who that even is...I take it you do?"

House just huffed and grabbed his glass, downing the remaining Scotch, and then poured himself another glass. Wilson watched as an incredibly young looking man walked towards the stage.

When the man was finally up on the stage and under the spotlights, Wilson finally got a good look at him.

He was tall, much taller than Cuddy anyway, and was wearing a black three-piece suit. His hair was perfectly sprayed into place, and Wilson almost felt a tinge of jealousy then, but quickly swallowed it down. His smile was wide, and his perfectly aligned white teeth seemed to sparkle under the spotlights, like one of those lame toothpaste commercials.

Wilson didn't really know how else to describe him, other than perfect.

Bruce Wayne walked across the stage and shook hands with Cuddy, leaning in and kissing her cheek. Wilson could see her cheeks grow red. Bruce then took the microphone, and nodded at her. She flashed him one more smile before turning on her heels and walking off to the side of the stage. Bruce eyed her every movement as she walked away from him, and Wilson could have sworn that he had seen Bruce lick his lips.

The applause continued until Bruce held up a hand, and smiled wider (as if that was possible.)

"Thank you. Please, you're all far too kind." He smiled that perfect smile once more, and waited for the applause to die down once again before he continued to speak.

"The Wayne Foundation seeks out charities that thrive on helping people live happier and healthier lives. We have staff whose sole position is dedicated to researching charities that need our help for the good of the American people. When we heard of Princeton-Plainsboro's need for a new Children's Oncology center, there was no question that we would want to contribute in any way that we could. Today's children are our future, and the Wayne Foundation is here to help them thrive in today's world, and overcome any difficulties that may stand in their way of living a fulfilling life."

More applause, and once more Bruce smiled, held up a hand, and waited.

"However, I do have a bit of a surprise for Princeton-Plainsboro. We are also going to be donating one million dollars to the hospital's Diagnostic's department. We are confident that the work of Dr. House is work that needs to be funded, so that he can continue to help those that no one else can."

Cuddy stood wide eyed and open mouthed at Bruce. Wilson sat wide eyed and open mouthed at House.

"You do know him!"

House rolled his eyes. "So what? We went to college together or something. Haven't seen him in years. He moved to Gotham or somewhere else just as obscure."

Wilson made a face. "Gotham? Where's that? I've never even heard of it."

House shrugged and took a sip of his Scotch. "I don't know. Chicago or somewhere."

Wilson sat back in his chair. "Chicago..." He mulled that thought over a bit before his thoughts were interrupted by Bruce calling both he and House up to the stage. Wilson stood up and finally handed House his cane.

"Well now I don't want it."

Wilson shoved it into his chest.

House hesitatingly took his cane and swallowed down the rest of his Scotch, before standing up and reluctantly heading up towards the stage. Wilson walked up first, shook hands with Bruce, and then stepped to the side so House could have his turn.

After the introductions had been made, Cuddy came to the front of the stage with a giant check, made out to Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital from Wayne Industries for four million dollars. Wilson hadn't received a donation quite so grand from anyone, ever, so as they all huddled around the check to get pictures taken, his smile was genuine. The same couldn't be said for House.

The next day, when Wilson would see the paper, he would see that House had as big a scowl on his face as ever.

The bastard was never grateful for anything, ever.

Cuddy walked back up to the microphone, and smiled towards Wilson. "Once again, I'd like to thank Mr. Wayne for his generous donation to our hospital. Now, I'm sure Dr. Wilson has a few things he'd like to say." She stood to the side, and Wilson took to the microphone. While he was rambling on, Bruce and House stepped off to the side, behind the curtains.

Bruce ran a hand down House's lapel. "You look good, Greg."

"Why are you here?"

Bruce looked beyond House, and saw Wilson still at the microphone. "Why must you always assume I want something? Can't I do something nice every now and again?"

House scoffed. "It's never that simple with you. You're up to something."

"Maybe," Bruce took a step closer to House, so that House could smell his overly minted breath against his skin. "Or maybe I just wanted to see you."

"You could have tried, oh I don't know...calling me? This is a bit extreme, don't you think?"

Bruce threw his head back and laughed. "I think we both know you wouldn't have answered if I had called."

"Yeah, well that was sort of the point." House leaned heavily on his cane, and turned to look at Wilson, who was still jabbering away, now off of index cards. He sighed and reached into his pocket, grabbing his bottle of Vicodin.

"What happened to your leg?" Bruce watched, brows furrowed in concern, as House popped two pills into his mouth.

"Nothing Batman could have saved me from, don't worry. No reason to feel guilty." House shoved the pill bottle back into his pocket and looked at Bruce. "Are we done here?"

Bruce placed a hand on the side of House's face, leaned in, and placed his lips softly against House's. He slid one of his business cards into House's front pocket before pulling away. He smiled at House and patted the pocket he had placed the card in.

"I'm going to be in town to see this project through. You should call me sometime, we could do lunch." He winked and pointed a finger at House, then walked back towards the middle of the stage.

House sighed. He had a feeling his life was about to become at least five billion times more ridiculous than it already was.

Wilson should have let him stay at home.